He can give the money to your organization, and your organization can use the money to pay his son, but he cannot claim it as a charitable gift.
Bill WongManager of Giving OperationsSavannah College of Art and Design ®
office: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.scad.edu
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Director of Advancement Services
Gustavus Adolphus College
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Saint Peter, Minnesota 56082
Agreed that this is not a charitable contribution, since the donor would be specifying the recipient.
Since there wouldn't be a charitable contribution, the proposed arrangement may just go away. If it doesn't, you might still want to tread carefully.
On the one hand, the proposed arrangement wouldn't take funding away from anyone else, since otherwise there wouldn't be the additional support.
On the other hand, an internship is a valuable experience, one that might advantage the intern in applying for a job down the road, etc. I infer from your comment "we cannot have any unpaid interns" that you do have an internship program, and the proposed arrangement might be seen as trading on the reputation of that program, for a participant that did not go through the usual process. In addition, there have been conversations in the wider community over the last few years about opportunities like internships, with, for example, concern expressed that unpaid internships provide advantages to people whose socio-economic status makes it possible for them to accept an unpaid position. The considerations in the proposed arrangement might be seen as subject to a similar concern, because the opportunity is only available because the parent (or parent's friends) would be underwriting the position, in this case directly by paying your organization rather than indirectly by providing living expenses, etc. In addition, there may be specific or general policies or practices at your organization that would apply to the proposed arrangement.
So, 1) no charitable contribution and 2) maybe tread carefully.
My US$0.02 worth; the usual disclaimers apply.
Alan S. Hejnal
Data Quality Manager
Smithsonian Institution - Office of Advancement
600 Maryland Ave SW Ste 600E
PO Box 37012, MRC 527
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Voice: 202-633-8754 | Email: HejnalA@si.edu